Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce leads winners at Doha Diamond League (video)

Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce
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Jamaican Olympic and world champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce held on to win a 100m race at the first of 14 Diamond League meets this season in Doha, Qatar, on Friday.

The triple 2013 world champion Fraser-Pryce clocked 11.13 seconds into a -.8m/s headwind, ahead of late-charging Nigerian Blessing Okagbare (11.18) and Jamaican Kerron Stewart (11.25).

U.S. champion English Gardner was last in 11.57. Gardner also ran 11.50 in Kingston, Jamaica, on Saturday after being the fourth fastest woman in the world last year at 10.85 seconds. Fraser-Pryce’s biggest rivals from the Olympics and World Championships, American Carmelita Jeter, the Ivory Coast’s Murielle Ahoure and Jamaican Veronica Campbell-Brown were not in Doha.

Fraser-Pryce was joined by other world champions winning sprints, David Oliver in the 110m hurdles (13.23) and LaShawn Merritt in the 400m (44.44, matching his world-leading time from the Drake Relays two weeks ago).

Oliver beat a field that included the other medalists from last year’s World Championships — Russian Sergey Shubenkov (second, 13.38) and U.S. champion Ryan Wilson (fifth, 13.52).

Merritt bounced back after running 44.86 in Kingston on Saturday, when he lost to the Dominican Republic’s Luguelin Santos. Santos, the Olympic silver medalist and world bronze medalist, was fifth in Doha in 44.94.

Jamaican Olympic and world medalist Warren Weir was upset in the 200m by countryman Nickel Ashmeade, 20.13 to 20.31. American Curtis Mitchell, the world bronze medalist, was sixth in 20.76. Usain Bolt, who hasn’t raced yet this year, isn’t scheduled to compete until June.

Ethiopian Genzebe Dibaba, who broke indoor 1500m and 3000m world records in February, faded to sixth in the 3000m after leading going into the final lap.

Russian Olympic champion Ivan Ukhov won a spirited high jump competition that included three London 2012 medalists, clearing a world-leading 2.41m to tie the Diamond League record. The field was missing Ukraine’s Bohdan Bondarenko, who made attempts to break the 2.45m world record last year.

New Zealand shot putter Valerie Adams, who has captured every major outdoor championship since 2007, won her 47th straight competition.

The Diamond League schedule continues in Shanghai on May 18, when Allyson Felix is scheduled to make her season debut.

IOC shoots down British report that Rio Games could be moved

Teri McKeever fired by Cal as women’s swimming coach after investigation

Teri McKeever
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Teri McKeever, the first woman to serve as a U.S. Olympic swimming head coach, was fired by the University of California at Berkeley after an investigation into alleged verbal and emotional abuse of swimmers that she denied.

McKeever was put on paid administrative leave from her job as head women’s swimming coach in May after an Orange County Register report that 20 current or former Cal swimmers said McKeever verbally and emotionally bullied her swimmers.

Cal athletics director Jim Knowlton wrote in a letter to the Cal team and staff that a resulting independent law firm report detailed “verbally abusive conduct that is antithetical to our most important values.”

“I strongly believe this is in the best interests of our student-athletes, our swimming program and Cal Athletics as a whole,” Knowlton said of McKeever’s firing in a press release. “The report details numerous violations of university policies that prohibit race, national origin and disability discrimination.”

The Orange County Register first published what it says is the full independent report here with redactions.

“I deny and unequivocally refute all conclusions that I abused or bullied any athlete and deny any suggestion I discriminated against any athlete on the basis of race, disability or sexual orientation,” McKeever said in a statement Tuesday confirming her firing and expressing disappointment in how the investigation was conducted. “While I am disappointed in the way my CAL Career will conclude, I wish to thank and celebrate the many student-athletes and staff that made my time in Berkeley a true blessing and gift.”

McKeever’s lawyer wrote that McKeever “will be filing suit to expose the manner in which gender has affected not only the evaluation of her coaching but harmed and continues to harm both female and male athletes.”

McKeever led Cal women’s swimming and diving for nearly 30 years, winning four NCAA team titles and coaching Olympic champions including Missy FranklinNatalie Coughlin and Dana Vollmer.

In 2004, she became the first woman to be on a U.S. Olympic swim team coaching staff, as an assistant. In 2012, she became the first woman to be head coach of a U.S. Olympic swim team. She was an assistant again for the Tokyo Games.

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Diana Taurasi returns to U.S. national basketball team

Diana Taurasi
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Diana Taurasi is set to return to the U.S. national basketball team next week for the first time since the Tokyo Olympics, signaling a possible bid for a record-breaking sixth Olympic appearance in 2024 at age 42.

Taurasi is on the 15-player roster for next week’s training camp in Minnesota announced Tuesday.

Brittney Griner is not on the list but is expected to return to competitive basketball later this year with her WNBA team, the Phoenix Mercury (also Taurasi’s longtime team, though she is currently a free agent), after being detained in Russia for 10 months in 2022.

Taurasi said as far back as the 2016 Rio Games that her Olympic career was likely over, but returned to the national team after Dawn Staley succeeded Geno Auriemma as head coach in 2017.

In Tokyo, Taurasi and longtime backcourt partner Sue Bird became the first basketball players to win five Olympic gold medals. Bird has since retired.

After beating Japan in the final, Taurasi said “see you in Paris,” smiling, as she left an NBC interview. That’s now looking less like a joke and more like a prediction.

Minnesota Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve succeeded Staley as head coach last year. In early fall, she guided the U.S. to arguably the best FIBA World Cup performance ever, despite not having stalwarts Bird, Griner, Tina Charles and Sylvia Fowles.

Taurasi was not in contention for the team after suffering a WNBA season-ending quad injury in the summer. Taurasi, who is 38-0 in Olympic games and started every game at the last four Olympics, wasn’t on a U.S. team for an Olympics or worlds for the first time since 2002.

Next year, Taurasi can become the oldest Olympic basketball player in history and the first to play in six Games, according to Olympedia.org. Spain’s Rudy Fernandez could also play in a sixth Olympics in 2024.

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